In January 2011 a group of people met to discuss and review the position of our City relative to others in Scotland.
The Group were to represent the whole of Aberdeen and all citizens of Aberdeen in trying to develop a safer, cleaner city where people are happy to invest, live, and work.
The concern of the group related to the negativity shown in articles about Aberdeen and their aim was to change this situation by emphasising the positives. There are so many positive stories about Aberdeen that a trick was being missed and therefore the group wished to tackle this matter.
The people of Aberdeen have never blown their own trumpet about success and though we are the Energy Capital of Europe we must work to maintain and keep this acknowledgement. There are some spectacular successes by Aberdeen based companies in this sector and these include Wood Group, Craig Group, and many others recognised not only in European terms but globally.
Of course the importance of the people should never be underestimated and it is true to say Aberdonians are found in all parts of the world particularly where oil and gas exploration is undertaken and the subsea excellence derived from the north sea experience ensures our businesses are busy in many locations throughout the world.
Other positives include the student economy which brings significant contributions to local businesses and the group agreed we needed to shout about the major developments at Village Sports Centre, the new Library at the University of Aberdeen, and the new Swimming Pool. There will be many other good news stories to publicise.
But then Aberdeen is 1st for shopping with the Union Square development being added to the other developments and it was felt some work is required on promoting this to people in other Cities.
Of course there were issues mentioned about tidying up the City which are not new to anyone and future involvement of the citizens could make things happen.
Without going over the top the group agreed that discussions would take place with the local press to address this situation and also to work in partnership with other organisations for the benefit of the citizens of Aberdeen.
The original group then called a meeting with more people coming forward to engage in a wider group.
The Lord Provost took the chair at these meetings.
There will be opportunities for involvement of Aberdeen 1st to support e.g. events, festivals, projects as seen appropriate and funding will be required to be raised from the private sector for such purposes. Use of media will be a major issue to get Aberdeen 1st known and all avenues will be explored.
“Aberdeen 1st will work in close partnership with the citizens of Aberdeen and all sectors of the economy to support the delivery of a vibrant city.
As we encourage everyone to live, work, invest and visit Aberdeen the outcome benefits all.”
The Chair will be the Lord Provost. The Group will have a Vice Chair Dennis Davidson .
The Core Group will consist of the following people: Chair and Vice Chair, Alan Reid, Valerie Watts, Gordon McIntosh, Fred Dalgarno, George Esson, Jeanette Forbes, Adrian Watson, Tony Dawson, and Sylvia Halkerston , with the Coordinator in attendance.
It is intended that the Core Group will be supported by Conveners appointed to cover sectors including – Education, Heritage, Health, General Industry, Energy, Tourism, Religion, Disadvantaged, Banking, Youth, Further Education, Legal, Public Relations, Police, and others as appropriate.
James Knowles has been appointed as Project Coordinator.
Purpose of the Organisation
- To make a difference
- To restore and bring back the feel good factor in the City of Aberdeen
- To address the negative feedback directs at the City of Aberdeen
- To ensure an excellent Quality of Life for all stakeholders and citizens
- Promote that Aberdeen is “Open for Business”
- Drive an attitude of “Change” ensuring future economic sustainability
- Funds to be raised for this Group from the private sector
- Financial Budget to be developed for 3 year period
- Public Relations plan to be developed
- Encourage citizens to embrace the delivery of a vibrant city
Initially a three year project commencing on 1 April 2011.
Decisions of the Core Group will be by consensus
Currently ACVO will be handling all income/expenditure on behalf of Aberdeen 1st.
Authorisation of expenditure will be via Treasurer and/or Coordinator.
All sector Conveners when appointed will work with the Coordinator.
The Lord Provost will chair the meeting of Wider Group and this will report to the Core Group.
Wider Group should meet quarterly.
Links will be developed with other organisations including ACSEF, AGCC, VisitScotland, Visit Aberdeeen , etc.
Links to be developed with public sector including Aberdeen City Council, NHS, Voluntary Sector, etc.
Partnership will be the outcome including working with BID and others.
Some monies have been raised and deposited with Aberdeen 1st.
The Coordinator will be paid a maximum of £10000 pa subject to 6 monthly reviews.
Discussions have been held with possible proposals and the outcome was dependent upon the completion of a business plan. The need to know how any funding was to be spent was a major question from sponsors.
A number of discussions have been held regarding opportunities and these are detailed below:
a) Back Wynd
Mention made about the “Merchant Quarter” signage at the steps to Back Wynd and improvements of this signage. Costs not known.
b) City of Culture
Discussions are on going re Aberdeen’s bid for City of Culture 2017 and the possibility of Aberdeen1st being used in an Ambassadorial role. Presentation being done to Aberdeen1st on 3 September 2012.
Some meetings have taken place about support for “drivers” to engage in the City of Culture. This will possibly apply to front of house people in hotels , restaurants , and shops, etc all of whom are part of the framework for success with the application. Progress is being made and an event Customer service “Granite Style ” is on the 2 May 2013.
d) Mither Kirk project
The Burgesses visit to this project was reported upon and though seen as a £5m project support is needed to progress . Awaiting update.
e) Involvement in Good News
Financial support was given to the Friends of Duthie Park Open Day on 19 August 2012.
f) 3rd Sector
This is a growing sector in Aberdeen and one which required considerable financial support. With many charities in Aberdeen there is a need to review cooperation between the various charities – economies of scale via shared facilities and support resources, joint campaigns needs to be on the Aberdeen 1st agenda.
All of these proposals mentioned are very much on Aberdeen 1st agenda and could be “work in progress”. Other opportunistic scenarios will be addressed where and when appropriate.
There are events which require sponsorship and for support the output is branding with our logo on marketing material etc.
1. Sponsorship of events
a. Celebrate Aberdeen 2012 and supporting individual charities.
b. Link with Lord Provost’s charitable trust evening at theatre.
a. Possible opportunities at venues e.g. Airport / Railway Station / Bus Station / Northlink Terminal.
b. Consider links to Aberdeen City Council through all services.
- Art Gallery
- Leisure facilities
c. Create links to Universities, Colleges, regarding branding.
d. Feed into other organisations with broader network when appropriate e.g. AGCC, FSB, JCI, Integrated Trades, Society of Advocates, Burgesses etc.
3. Promotional Items
a. Lapel pin.
b. Produce marketing material including banners.
- There is a need to establish the Aberdeen 1st brand with more PR exposure.
- To gain recognition Aberdeen 1st will use the media extensively through a series of newsworthy stories, this includes involvement in magazines e.g. Business Bulletin, Leopard, Innovate (Aberdeen University).
- Aberdeen 1st will have a presence at a number of events including some that support the police in their actions to make Aberdeen a safer place for all. Event organisers to include profiling Aberdeen 1st on all marketing literature.
- To promote Aberdeen as 1st for Education, Shopping, Quality of Life, and a location for Tourists.
- The spokesperson for Aberdeen 1st is Alan Reid. The substitute for Alan will be the Vice Chair.
- Reciprocal links on various websites.
- Improved and regular slots in local press.
- Articles in Airport and University/College magazines.
- Local, community and hospital radio.
Working in isolation will not be effective and therefore it is the intention of Aberdeen 1st to engage with others, including:
- Aberdeen City Council
- Business Improvement District in Aberdeen (BID)
- Celebrate Aberdeen
- Grampian Police
- University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen College
- Grampian Health Board
- Third Sector
- Aberdeen Airport
- Aberdeen Harbour
- Visit Aberdeen
- Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
- Sport Aberdeen
- Aberdeen Football Club
- Aberdeen Sports Village
- Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
- Junior Chamber International
- Federation of Small Businesses
- City of Aberdeen Burgesses